A decline of 30 percent in the number of exhibitors at the sixth annual Swakopmund International Trade Expo (SWAITEX) which coincides with the Erongo Economic Conference represents the retardation of the national and local economy and new strategies are desperately needed to address the challenge
Christine //Hoebes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, during the official opening of the expo said the event and the coinciding investment conference is a unique opportunity to develop struggling businesses and to attract international investors to invest in local business ventures to create much needed jobs in the Erongo Region.
“The Namibian Government created a more conducive environment for just this purpose and to grow a diversified economy. Governments of countries on the African continent need to invest at least US$100 billion per year for the next ten years in vital infrastructure to get to the same level of other international markets and to promote intra-African trade and an urgent need to build confidence in local products and services on international markets to attain development goals,” she said.
The Deputy Minister said Namibia recently signed the Continental Free trade Agreement in order to promote the unrestricted movement of commercial trade commodities and people.
“Freeing up trade amongst the countries of the Southern African Development Community has the potential to expose local businesses to at least 300 million potential customers and almost one billion on the continent. In this regard every person must work hard to make Namibia the most competitive economy on the continent,” //Hoebes said.
The Governor of the Erongo Region, Cleophas Mutjavikua, said during his address to participants and visitors that people should stop blaming the appalling economic situation on others.
“We must all tackle the bull by the horns and throw all our weight and effort behind national development strategies to ensure much needed economic growth. Opportunities exist and young people specifically should use their God given creativity to invent new products which will appeal to consumers in international markets. Use your gift to make a difference,” he said.
The Chairman of the Swakopmund Branch of Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Paul Ndjambula, said Government and the private sector should join hands to find solutions for the struggling national economy.
“The decline in the number of exhibitors is a clear indication that something is amiss. We take heart in the fact the annual Windhoek Show also saw a drastic decline in exhibitors which means it is a countrywide phenomenon. We need to do more with the little we have to ensure that we create a better business environment,” he said.